Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What I've been reading: January 2012 edition

I have to be honest here--I honestly haven't been reading a ton this month.  I was on vacation for a week (a stay-cation, if you will) and spent my time doing pretty much everything other than reading.  So I'm behind on my challenges!  In any case, this is what I've been reading this last month.

Health Food Junkies, by Steven Bratman.  I have a tendency to become involved in a new subject and want to read a bunch about it--this was a recommended read from a friend, and I borrowed it from another library.  Very informative, lots of food for thought.  If you've ever stopped to wonder why diets are such a booming industry, this is a great read.  256 pages.

The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman.  Hoffman, a favorite of mine since Practical Magic, really captures the imagination in her latest novel.  I finally got my hands on a copy, and read it as fast as I could--it has been very popular among staff and patrons since its release back in October of last year.  In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert.  At the end of the siege, only two women and five children survive.  In the context of the desperate days of the siege, readers follow the lives of four women as they struggle for survival.  Heart-rending and gripping, beautifully told in Hoffman's usual thoughtful style.  Very highly recommended.  512 pages.

Starvation Heights, by Gregg Olsen.  This was part of a list of additional reading I got from Health Food Junkies, and I also borrowed this from another library.  I told you, I get immersed in a topic sometimes!  This is a tale of a woman who was a licensed practitioner of "starvation cures" in the early part of the last century, in the Pacific Northwest.  The book, a work of non-fiction, collects stories, documents, letters and anecdotes from the time about a woman who, under the guise of healing her patients, actually worked to defraud them of their possessions while starving her patients to death.  Grisly, but also kind of awesome true crime.  432 pages.

The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake.  This was a read for my book club's February meeting, and somehow, I found myself really surprised by the way the plot went.  For whatever reason, I really felt like I knew where things were heading, and then about halfway through the book, I found myself going, "...wait.  What just happened here?"  And I meant that in the best sense possible--I love it when a book totally turns me on my head and surprises me!  During the last night of the Blitz in London, journalist Frankie Bard meets a Cape Cod doctor and promises to deliver a letter for him when she returns to the states.  Countries torn by war, innocence is lost, and two women who have never met wind up with a strong connection they're unaware of.  Really quite a stunning piece of fiction--Blake has a great talent for turning out phrases so clear, your mind rings with them.  326 pages.

Ok, so my totals for the year's challenges so far are:

4/50 titles read = 8% complete
1,526/50,000 pages read = about 3% complete

Have you been keeping track of what you're reading?  Challenging yourself to read more?  I'd love to know if you are, and how you're doing!

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Hi Megan I've done 9 books so far on my goal of 125 books for the year (a stretch) - 7% of the way. Loved the Postmistress!